Support Inclusion and Diversity

Goal 5: Support Inclusion and Diversity

We value our diversity in all of its forms. We welcome citizens of all ages, socio-economic, cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds. We strive to foster respect and appreciation, promote interaction, and actively encourage a wide variety of individuals to live, work, and play in Acton.

Support residents of all ages

Objective 5.1: Support residents of all ages

Support seniors

Strategy 5.1.1: Support seniors

Support seniors by providing easier access to housing, transportation, and connecting with the community.

Housing for seniors

Action Item 5.1.1.1: Housing for seniors

Support the provision of housing that is appropriate to seniors (e.g. smaller units, located within walking distance of goods and services such as Kelley’s Corner).
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Council on Aging
Planning Board
Selectmen
Influence?: 
Yes

Provide more transportation service for seniors.

Action Item 5.1.1.2: Provide more transportation service for seniors.

Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Council on Aging<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>

Inter-generational programs

Action Item 5.1.1.3: Inter-generational programs

Create opportunities for inter-generational interaction and learning in a new senior center and through community programs and volunteer activities.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Council on Aging<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Recreation Commission
Recreation Department
School Committees

Outreach to new seniors, especially across languages

Action Item 5.1.1.4: Outreach to new seniors, especially across languages

Conduct outreach to seniors (including newly arrived seniors who may speak languages other than English).
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Council on Aging<i> </i>

Senior tax abatement strategies

Action Item 5.1.1.5: Senior tax abatement strategies

Offer more paid part-time positions at Town Hall and tax exemptions for seniors.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Manager Department
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Integrate Teens

Strategy 5.1.2: Integrate Teens

Integrate teens in the community by providing services, easier mobility, and activities.

Continue to support services for younger Actonians at the T.J. O'Grady Skate Park and Danny’s Place.

Action Item 5.1.2.1: Continue to support services for younger Actonians at the T.J. O'Grady Skate Park and Danny’s Place.

Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Recreation Commission
School Committees

Outreach to teens for planning

Action Item 5.1.2.2: Outreach to teens for planning

In order to best address youth needs, conduct outreach to youth to guide them to articulate their needs, and involve them in the planning process.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>

Teen activities accessible without cars

Action Item 5.1.2.3: Teen activities accessible without cars

Provide more activities for teenagers that are accessible without an automobile, e.g. improved walking access from the schools to Kelley’s Corner and an expanded shuttle system.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Recreation Commission
Recreation Department
School Committees
Sidewalk Committee
Transportation Advisory Committee

Teen place

Action Item 5.1.2.4: Teen place

Consider creating and/or programming a park or other gathering place that is accessible for and attractive to teens.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
School Committees

Teens involved in town governance

Action Item 5.1.2.5: Teens involved in town governance

Involve youth in town governance by providing teen part time work and volunteer opportunities in town services including creating a “student representative” to town government. Explore possibilities for providing school and/or community service credit for these activities.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Human Resources Department<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Manager Department
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
Yes

Support the inclusion of families with young children into community life.

Strategy 5.1.3: Support the inclusion of families with young children into community life.

Provide gathering places and recreational opportunities for families with young children.

Action Item 5.1.3.1: Provide gathering places and recreational opportunities for families with young children.

Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
School Committees

Identify how age demographics are changing community needs.

Strategy 5.1.4: Identify how age demographics are changing community needs.

Document needs of an aging population

Action Item 5.1.4.1: Document needs of an aging population

Meet with department heads to explore ways of documenting the changing needs of an aging population by recording usage of services and facilities (e.g. minuteman shuttle, parks, library, etc.) and identify ways of reaching missing demographics
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Owners: 
Information Technology Department
Manager Department

Identifying seniors at risk

Action Item 5.1.4.2: Identifying seniors at risk

Explore the need for identifying “At Risk” seniors, living alone and/or with problems communicating with public health and safety officials.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Community Services Coordinator <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Health Department
Police

Support households of all income levels

Objective 5.2: Support households of all income levels

Affordable Housing Strategy

Strategy 5.2.1: Affordable Housing Strategy

Develop a comprehensive and proactive affordable housing strategy that supports the provision of a wide range of housing types including for people of limited means, and also allows Acton to make progress on the Commonwealth's affordable housing goals set forth in Chapter 40B of the General Laws.

Housing Plan

Action Item 5.2.1.1: Housing Plan

Prepare an updated proactive plan1 to make additional rental and owner housing available at prices that Acton families of low and moderate income can afford and at the same time provide a means to make progress toward the 10% state requirement for affordable housing2 3 The plan should be consistent with the planning for key centers.
  • 1. The Town's last housing plan is here: https://doc.acton-ma.gov/dsweb/View/Collection-2277
  • 2. The Commonwealth allows for greater local control over affordable housing projects when a threshold of 10% of deeded affordable housing is achieved, or when significant progress is made in a given year. These thresholds are generally difficult for Acton to achieve, but achieving them is very helpful for the town's goals, if they can be achieved without significantly risking the general land use strategy of this plan.
  • 3. The housing plan should explore the potential of forming a partnership with a regional non-profit development entity.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Planning Board
Selectmen
Management?: 
Yes

Incentives for well-located affordable housing

Action Item 5.2.1.2: Incentives for well-located affordable housing

Provide incentives for the development of housing that is “affordable” (meeting state standards) and/or simply within the means of people and families with low and moderate incomes, such as empty nesters, town staff, and young families, at small scattered sites especially in proximity to village centers.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Planning Board
Selectmen

Purchase deed restrictions in existing housing

Action Item 5.2.1.3: Purchase deed restrictions in existing housing

Explore ways to continue and expand the conversion of existing below-market housing units to affordable units through purchase of deed restrictions.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Lead Owner: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Planning Department
Selectmen

Allow more dividing of existing lots for economical housing

Action Item 5.2.1.4: Allow more dividing of existing lots for economical housing

In the review of Acton’s zoning bylaws, support and expand the ability of residents who wish to subdivide their homes (and property) for economical housing (e.g., “in-law apartments”) by increasing the number of houses that qualify under the Zoning Bylaw1 and providing regulations that permit subdivision of a single residential lot for affordable housing purposes, subject to review of septic systems and effect on historic districts, as applicable.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Population and Housing
Lead Owner: 
Health Department<i> </i>
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Historic District Commission
Planning Board
Selectmen

Housing sites with open space purchases

Action Item 5.2.1.5: Housing sites with open space purchases

When the Town purchases large open space parcels, consider designating a portion as an affordable housing site1.
  • 1. Adding affordable housing to an open space purchase plan also helps fund the open space purchase.
Timing: 
New Sustained Action (start by 2015 and continue through 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Open Space Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Community Preservation Committee
Selectmen

Provide social support and economic opportunities for residents of low and moderate income

Strategy 5.2.2: Provide social support and economic opportunities for residents of low and moderate income

Match people in need with agencies

Action Item 5.2.2.1: Match people in need with agencies

Increase volunteer and community connections by working with the school system and the Town to identify those in need and match them with volunteers and agencies.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Community Services Coordinator <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Council on Aging
Health Department
Police
School Committees

Support agencies serving residents in need

Action Item 5.2.2.2: Support agencies serving residents in need

Continue to support agencies working to serve the needs of the Town’s low and moderate income residents.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Influence?: 
Yes

Embrace cultural diversity

Strategy 5.3: Embrace cultural diversity

Support diverse cultures within Acton and welcome new residents of all ethnicities.

Strategy 5.3.1: Support diverse cultures within Acton and welcome new residents of all ethnicities.

Town space for cultural activities

Action Item 5.3.1.1: Town space for cultural activities

Continue to support and provide Town space for cultural activities and celebrations.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Memorial Library
Recreation Department
Ripe?: 
No

Acknowledge more holidays

Action Item 5.3.1.2: Acknowledge more holidays

Support the recognition of cultural holidays town-wide (including by noting these on the town web site and supporting their recognition in the schools) and consider holding an annual Acton Multi-Cultural Celebrations Day.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
School Committees<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Information Technology Department

Consider establishing a Diversity Awareness Day with diversity training materials and programs.

Action Item 5.3.1.3: Consider establishing a Diversity Awareness Day with diversity training materials and programs.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
School Committees<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Commission on Disabilities
Human Resources Department

More multilingual staff and materials

Action Item 5.3.1.4: More multilingual staff and materials

Consider hiring and providing multilingual staff and materials at Town facilities. Provide signs, website, and written information in multiple languages.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Fire Department
Highway Department
Memorial Library
Municipal Properties
Police
West Acton Citizens' Library

Include non-citizen residents in town affairs

Action Item 5.3.1.5: Include non-citizen residents in town affairs

Encourage non-citizen residents to serve on town boards where possible
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Clerk Department

Recruit volunteers from ethnic and language minorities

Action Item 5.3.1.6: Recruit volunteers from ethnic and language minorities

Create a new committee composed of liaisons from the various ethnic and language groups in town whose main charge will include providing information to newcomers and organizing multi-cultural activities. This will help build bridges, knitting the community closer together, and it will provide guidance to those unfamiliar with the town and its resources.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Ripe?: 
Yes

Expand language offerings

Action Item 5.3.1.7: Expand language offerings

Explore whether the schools think it is feasible to expand foreign language options to include Portuguese, Russian, and the Indian languages, as well as the current Chinese language offerings.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
School Committees<i> </i>

Identify how cultural demographics are changing community needs.

Strategy 5.3.2: Identify how cultural demographics are changing community needs.

Document the changing needs of a multicultural population

Action Item 5.3.2.3: Document the changing needs of a multicultural population

Meet with Town Department Heads to identify ways in which demographic changes (specifically cultural and linguistic) may have affected community needs and the provision of services.
Priority: 
Other Action Steps
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Other Inventory Elements: 
Cultural Resources
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Ripe?: 
No

Extend multi-language support

Action Item 5.3.2.1: Extend multi-language support

Explore the need and feasibility of implementing actions such as: having the Police Department subscribe to AT&T’s translation service, translating key portions of the Town’s website especially pages dealing with regulations, services and emergency announcements, etc.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Information Technology Department
Police

Focus groups to improve outreach

Action Item 5.3.2.2: Focus groups to improve outreach

Conduct follow up focus groups with the goal of identifying ways of broadening the participation of residents from all segments of Acton’s population.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups

Support citizens with disabilities in participating fully in the life of the community.

Objective 5.4: Support citizens with disabilities in participating fully in the life of the community.

Universal Design / Town facilities

Action Item 5.4.1: Universal Design / Town facilities

Consider Universal Design principles at new Town facilities and in development guidelines and review to provide physical access benefits to all.1
  • 1. Universal Design refers to design principles that accommodate people with and without disabilities in the same way, e.g., curb ramps that provide access for strollers and shopping carts as well as wheelchairs. All new Town facilities and alterations must comply with ADA Accessibility Guidelines.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Commission on Disabilities
Engineering Department
Planning Department

Universal Design / Housing

Action Item 5.4.2: Universal Design / Housing

Encourage the use of Universal Design principles in both affordable and market housing through development guidelines and review.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Building Department
Design Review Board
Planning Board

ADA Transition Plan

Action Item 5.4.3: ADA Transition Plan

Update the Town’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan, including identification of priorities for corrective action.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Commission on Disabilities
Engineering Department

Employment information for the disabled

Action Item 5.4.4: Employment information for the disabled

Support and provide information on job training and career counseling opportunities for disabled individuals.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Commission on Disabilities<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Community Services Coordinator

Expanding access to team sports

Action Item 5.4.5: Expanding access to team sports

Work with the Recreation Commission to create opportunities for participation in team sports by people with disabilities.1
  • 1. The Town is working to install a "Field of Dreams" athletic field that will support leagues focused on serving youth with disabilities.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Commission on Disabilities<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Recreation Commission
Recreation Department